Most writers find inspiration in things they notice or read about—I’ve certainly read a news article and thought, “Hmm, that would make a good plot for a romantic suspense book.” For two of my romantic suspense stories, the general plotline has its roots in real life.

I based Dangerous Christmas Memories on a short news item about two celebrities who tied the knot in Las Vegas but didn’t realize it was a “real” marriage until years later. In my story, the heroine literally forgot she had said “I do,” in Vegas, then disappeared while the hero spent years looking for her.

And those two celebrities? They only found out they really were married when one was preparing for his own wedding and an attorney uncovered the previous marriage license record.

Illusion of Love-coverFor Illusion of Love, the genesis was the real-life story of a friend, who had experienced a heartbreaking—and rather horrible—online relationship. When I heard her story, I knew I wanted to write about it but with my own twists and turns. In fact, anyone who knows her story wouldn’t find many similarities with mine at all. But the basic idea, the seed that grew into Illusion of Love, was based on a true story.

But what makes using “true” stories as the foundation for a fiction story so much fun is that we can write our own endings—and our own beginnings and middles too. We don’t want fiction to mirror real life too closely!

 

Sarah Hamaker has been spinning stories since she was a child. Her romantic suspense books include Dangerous Christmas Memories (Love Inspired Suspense), Mistletoe & Murder (Seshva Press) and Illusion of Love (Seshva Press). Sarah lives in Virginia with her husband, four children, one foster child and three cats. Connect with her at sarahhamakerfiction.com.

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This time of year, people are posting like crazy on social media the number of books they read in 2018. There are even some pretty cute videos and memes that you can use to illustrate what a productive reader you were last year.

While it’s perfectly fine to tally up your reading year, I don’t happen to keep track, nor do I want to know how many books I read. On the one hand, the number would be interesting. On the other, I will more than likely be depressed at the low number of actual books.

I read…a lot…like the newspaper every morning (yes, in print—my husband and I both trained as journalists and print’s in our blood!), weekly and monthly magazines, and fiction and nonfiction books, as well as all the reading I do in my crit group and blog writing.

Rather than focus on a number, this year I challenge you to focus on the ideas and thoughts of the books you read. I like to reflect on ideas that challenged me, that inspired me to change, and that moved me to look at the world differently. Both fiction and nonfiction books can give us much food for thought.

As we ease into 2019, by all means, keep your tallies of books read. But also, jot down what reached down into your heart and gave you a different perspective, an outlook, or a calling.

Sarah Hamaker is a writer, editor, and parent coach in Fairfax, Virginia. Connect with her at www.sarahhamaker.com.

(Illustration courtesy Pixabay)

 

 

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by Sarah Hamaker, reluctant marketer

With the start of a new year, our thoughts naturally turn to what we’ll accomplish in the 12 months of 2017. But if we don’t have a plan or idea of where we want to go, we’ll spend more time floundering and less time making progress. Top of your list of plans should be one that details what you’ll do for marketing. Read More →

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by Sarah Hamaker, reluctant marketer

Being an expert can be fruitful in many ways, such as introducing you to new audiences and building your credibility. The Internet and email has made it easy to connect with writers to offer your services as an expert in your field or subject matter. Read More →

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by Sarah Hamaker, reluctant marketer

Interviewing sources for articles doesn’t have to be a scary proposition. Most writers are curious people by nature—after all, many plots and plot points come about because a writer asked, “What if…?” Read More →

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